As the school year comes to a close, parents nationwide can almost breathe a sigh of relief with the ending of home school in sight. Among these home school heroes are Buckner foster families balancing work, teaching and providing a stable environment for the children in their homes who remain in the state’s custody.
Children in the foster care system face daily uncertainty, and the effects of the coronavirus pandemic have only increased the instability in their lives. Structure and routine are essential for children in foster care for their focus, behavior and mentality. Since the steady structure of school and routine of daily life has come to a halt, Buckner families are working extra hard to maintain normalcy.
Buckner Foster Care case worker in Lufkin, Texas, Jenna Morgan said the foster parents she works with are feeling the full stress of the pandemic as they near the end of the school semester. To help with the stress, foster parents communicate regularly with Buckner Foster Care staff.
“Many children from hard places rely on structure and it can be exhausting for a foster parent to provide high levels of structure without school to help break up the day,” Morgan said. “One way Buckner is helping is by keeping regular contact with our foster families. This allows the families to have an outlet to express their frustrations if needed.”
Joel and Leslie Casiday are foster parents through Buckner in Lufkin. They currently have four adopted children and one child in foster care. With five children now at home, the family decided to bring all parts of school home with the kids. The family spends time in home art class and P.E. with crafts and tricycle races through the neighborhood.
Each day the the Casiday kids go to school and pick up their lunches. This field trip gives the children something to look forward to and helps keep structure in the day. As long-time foster parents, the Casidays work hard each day to make sure the children in their home feel loved and cared for, even in the midst of a global pandemic. Leslie also schedules outdoor time in the afternoon for the kids to play every day, giving them freedom to use their imagination and stay active.
“Don’t lose heart,” Leslie advised. “It is hard to be both a teacher and a parent with no break from the kids. Being a foster parent is not always as stressful as it is right now but providing these children with a stable home in unstable times can make a big difference in their lives.”
The Casidays are one of many examples of how foster families are rallying together to continue serving vulnerable children in unprecedented times. Find out more about becoming a Buckner foster family and providing a safe home for vulnerable children in your community.